It was a far from ideal start to the season for the Lincoln football team.
The Washburn Ichabods ended Thursday night's game with 55 unanswered points, dominating the Blue Tigers for a 76-12 win at Dwight T. Reed Stadium.
It's the second time this calendar year Lincoln has allowed more than 70 points in a game. On Feb. 19, the Blue Tigers lost 87-3 to Nicholls State, the most points allowed in a game in program history.
"That was probably the worst performance since I've been here," Lincoln coach Malik Hoskins said. "I'm not talking about the Nicholls State game in the spring. This is the worst performance I've seen from a football team.
"It's truly disheartening. I have no other words."
Washburn scored on 12 of its 14 possessions and could not be slowed down in the second half. The Ichabods led 38-12 at halftime and 59-12 through three quarters.
Washburn outgained Lincoln 541-203.
"We didn't have a clue defensively," Hoskins said. "We weren't where we were supposed to be, and when we were where we were supposed to be, we didn't tackle. We had several opportunities to stop drives, but we didn't make tackles."
Washburn took advantage of a bad snap on a Lincoln punt to set up a 2-yard touchdown run. Kameron Lake made the first of his 10 extra points to put the Ichabods ahead 7-0 less than two minutes into the game.
Washburn scored a 20-yard touchdown pass on its next possession to take a 14-0 lead. After that, Lincoln accounted for two of the next three touchdowns scored.
Facing third-and-9, Lincoln quarterback Zamar Brake launched a pass downfield to Chrisshun Robinson, who made the catch in stride and beat the Washburn secondary to the end zone for a 74-yard touchdown. The snap was mishandled on the extra-point attempt, but the Blue Tigers had cut the lead to 14-6.
"We know he is young and inexperienced, he hadn't played in a meaningful game since high school," Hoskins said of Brake, who was playing in his first game since 2018. "We have to do a better job as coaches of putting him in a position where he's going to be successful."
Washburn responded with a rushing touchdown by Zach Willis. The Ichabods were driving again to start the second quarter, but Lincoln defensive back Chris Parker intercepted a pass in the end zone for the Blue Tigers' lone takeaway.
Lincoln got points off that turnover. Brake completed a 51-yard pass to Charles Johnson, and then four plays later on fourth-and-3, Brake passed up a first-down run on a scramble to complete a 28-yard touchdown pass to Winston Ausmer just inside the pylon. The extra point was no good, but Lincoln's deficit was now 21-12 with 10:37 to go in the first half.
However, it was all Washburn after that.
The Ichabods made a field goal and scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the second quarter to go into halftime with a 26-point lead.
In the second half, Washburn scored on six straight possessions: two touchdown passes, two rushing touchdowns, one field goal and one interception returned for a touchdown.
Lincoln's offense converted just 2-of-16 times on third down. Washburn had 12 plays on third down, converting nine of them for first downs.
"I'm really disappointed in the entire team, but more so with the defense, because that's where our experience supposedly is," Hoskins said. "I'm thrown back by their performance."
Washburn quarterback Mitch Schurig completed 16-of-22 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns. James Letcher Jr. caught five passes for 116 yards and a touchdown, while Taylon Peters had 10 carries for 75 yards and two scores.
For Lincoln, Brake complete 9-of-14 passes for 175 yards. Hosea Franklin, the 2019 MIAA rushing champion, was held to 27 yards on 18 carries. He rushed for a school-record 251 yards against Washburn in 2019.
"There was no running room (for Hosea)," Hoskins said. "They were keyed in on him. The offensive line didn't do anything to help him."
Washburn (1-0) will host Central Missouri next Thursday.
Lincoln (0-1) will begin a two-game road trip next Thursday, going on the road to face No. 4 Northwest Missouri in Maryville. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.
Northwest Missouri (1-0) won its season opener 15-7 on Thursday at Fort Hays State.
"We'll try to do our best to coach up the mistakes, and hopefully this doesn't happen again," Hoskins said. "We're going to get exposed if we don't fix what's wrong."